Watching TV while you eat doesn't have to mean staring at the tube like a zombie and mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth. In fact, if there's something on the DVR that I know I'll find particularly engrossing, I prefer to save that until after dinner so I can give it my full attention. But there's plenty of programming that allows for conversation and actually stimulates it, whether it's coverage of a serious topic or a total guilty pleasure.
Sports, Not so Bad
I know some of you are not sports fans, and you certainly shouldn't watch anything that you truly dislike. I'm pretty ambivalent about sports myself, but I've found that having a game on TV doesn't ruin my dinner. My boyfriend loves sports, so we might put on a baseball game and swap out the sound of the announcers for some music of our own choosing while we eat our dinner. It's really not a bad way to spend a summer evening. And, for me, a big game is just an excuse to invite friends over, cook a fun meal and enjoy each others' company.
These days, there are countless television shows that center around food. You can eat a meal while Food Network helps you plan your next one, or Top Chef inspires you to try a new ingredient. As Ina Garten would say, how bad could that be?
The Right Food for the Job
Some food calls for a more formal setting, but others are perfect for TV watching. I love to make a simple pasta dish, put it in an over-sized serving bowl, curl up in a corner of the couch, put on a TV show or movie and savor every bite. Popcorn, of course, is a no-brainer.
And Yes, Sometimes Just Turn it Off
As much as I love TV, I definitely don't need to have it on for every meal. Some meals – especially those that require a little extra effort – are better enjoyed with the TV off, and maybe some nice music instead. A dinner party, for instance, is not the time to eat a meal around the television (unless a special show, movie or game is the reason for the party). Or maybe just a nice, quiet weeknight meal, even if it's at the coffee table.
Disclaimer: I don't have children, and I realize that if you do, this is a completely different conversation. These are just the opinions of one adult who was almost never allowed to watch TV while she ate as a kid, and is still a little excited that she can.